Dambulla is the site where King Valagamba (also called Vattagamini Abhaya) converted an ordinary mass of rock cave into a magnificient rock temple as a mark of gratitude to the monks who gave refuge to the king during his 14 year exile from the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, around the 1st century BC. Its rock ceiling is one large sweep of colorful paintings depicting tales of the Buddha’s previous births. Dambulla is located in the Matale district, in the Central province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 Km North-East of Colombo. It is believed this historical cave temple is the largest and the best preserved of the cave temples in Sri Lanka. The rock is 160 m high and contains a large collection of Buddha statues all in one place. However, there are about 150 Buddha statues spread over 80 caves in the surrounding complex of which only 5 caves were considered major attractions. Successive kings carried out further changes to the interiors from time to time. However, it was King Nissanka Malla, who was responsible for having the interior of the caves gilded, earning the name Ran Giri (Golden Rock).